Galaxy wide receiver Niko Lester: "Whatever coach and team need, I’ll be ready!"

The European veteran and two-year-starter at safety for the Barcelona Dragons will wear purple and gold in the upcoming season of the European League of Football. We talked to Lester about his decision to go back to Germany.

February 2, 2023
Chris Hahn
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Galaxy wide receiver Niko Lester: "Whatever coach and team need, I’ll be ready!"
Niko Lester suits up to play for the purple and gold in 2023. © Daniel Ximenez

Niko Lester is born in Kaiserslautern, Germany, with American roots. Since 2008, he has been around several teams in Europe. Teams include Kaiserslautern Pikes, Cologne Falcons, Bloomington Edge or Carstad Crusaders. With a longing for home, the 31-year-old football player returns to Germany after two seasons with the Barcelona Dragons. In 2021, Lester also was honored First-Team All-Star. Frankfurt Galaxy signed the athlete in December.

Niko, when you look back on your time with the Barcelona Dragons, what come up first?

Niko Lester: The will to work and win, despite the ups and downs. The fighting spirit was like no other and beyond the two years we have created a standard that will now be felt every season by the Dragons. I have no doubt about that. And without the unique support of the fans, nothing would have been feasible. No Fans - No Dragons : Muchas Gracias a todos!

You are originally from the "Pfalz", you have passed through many stations in Europe. Now you return to a city near your hometown. Why?

I would say I did everything I wanted to do with American football. Where some really have NFL and college ambitions, for me, it was important to become a better man. To be able to create a better future for myself and my family someday. Of course, the thought about the NFL or College was present, but to go these steps alone was not that simple. With me, everything went up too fast. But I am thankful to god to have given me this path, and find that I could exploit my true potential. My goal has always been to prove to everyone, no matter if you are an Import or not - College or not, - that hard work pays off, and you can be just as good as some other import! I am half American - proud "Lautrer" - but started American Football just like everyone else: In Europe. Now it's time to give back the lost and sacrificed time that I missed from my family. And I pray that my family can forgive me for this time and can and will attend every home game.

The Frankfurt Galaxy introduced you as a wide receiver. Are you playing both ways again, partially, like you did with the Dragons?

By having good coaching at all positions in my career, and thanks to the internet and YouTube, my understanding of the game, my mental training and training preparation, coupled with my will & goals - has improved my level of play significantly. And personally, I hate to disappoint people. So I just have to be ready for myself but also for the team, just in case in the game.  Whatever coach and team need, I'll be ready! 

Have you seen this yet?

Running back, safety, wide receiver. Anything you can’t do?

Field goal kicking. It's an art - believe it or not. And I have the most respect for kickers in this game.

You are 31 now, what are your goals as a player?

Of course, as a player, to lift the European League of Football trophy with Frankfurt. But even more, as always, to do my best off and on the field to create a good football experience for everyone involved in American Football.

You have already played against Thomas Kösling and his Galaxy team. What makes the team special for you?

In my youth, I was in Frankfurt one or the other time. The energy and the ambience you feel when you drive into the city is something very special. Everything is possible here, but you don't get anything for free. Here you have to earn everything, work hard & that's what makes Frankfurt Galaxy special. And I think when you see Frankfurt play, you can feel that energy – the will to win and ambition. Never give up/in mentality. Exactly my kind of view!

Thank you, Niko!


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